Cover image for Stargone John
Stargone John
McKenzie, Ellen Kindt.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, [1990]

Physical Description:
67 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm.
Six-year-old John, emotionally withdrawn and resistant to traditional teaching methods, experiences ridicule and punishment at his one-room schoolhouse, until an old retired teacher reaches out from her blindness to share with him the world of reading and writing.
Reading Level:
780 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.1 4 Quiz: 10869.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



For 9-year-old Liza Bain it's not easy having a younger brother like John. John is so shy, he won't talk to anyone except Liza. When John starts first grade, he refuses to learn how to read or write. Their teacher punishes him and the other kids start calling him Stargone John. Now even Liza doesn't know what to do.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5. Liza Bain's younger brother, John, shy and withdrawn, can't adjust to the one-room village school. He sits very still, doesn't cry, even when the kids tease him and the mean teacher punishes him: "He was star gone, and now and again he got whacked." Liza's about the only person he talks to, and he tells her about his special imaginary friend who knows everything and can do everything. Then he's helped by a real friend, an adult outsider who accepts what makes John special. The book is small in size; the language is spare yet lyrical; and Low's deeply shaded, full-page pencil drawings, especially those of the classroom, quietly capture the solitary, sturdy boy in a threatening space. This is the best kind of historical fiction, where the sense of a small midwestern town at the turn of the century is woven into story and character. ~--Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-- John is a child who sees and hears and smells and feels things most people don't. He and his invisible friend, the Meesong, travel to places most can't imagine. John attends a rural, one-room school under the tutelage of Miss Vordig, a tartar of a teacher who out of cruelty or ignorance punishes him for his apparent lack of interest. He sits, submits--but doesn't learn. Luckily his sister, who narrates, takes him to visit a former teacher who is blind with cataracts and supposedly a little peculiar. She becomes the shining jewel in John's life; soon he is learning--in his own way. This is an introspective novel with little action or plot, and readers may have difficulty ascertaining setting or time period. It is, however, a gentle statement about the value of individuality. Sophisticated and sensitively written, it's a book for sharing between adult and child. --Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.